Thousands of kids in South Dakota make baseball a summer tradition. But along with the nice summer weather, severe storms can pop up at any time.
There are more than 200 league teams with thousands of kids and adults playing baseball this summer through the Sioux Empire Baseball Association. The association has a policy to keep kids safe and the fields in top notch condition.
"That's the ultimate importance. We don't want to put these kids at any risk obviously," parent Jesse Johnston said.
Johnston says summer baseball is all about letting kids have a good time and to learn the sport. But above anything else, their health and well being is most important.
"I mean we don't even take a chance with them at all; even severe rain with thunder, they're done," Johnston said.
Sioux Empire Baseball Association Executive Director Lyle Smith says they are in constant communication with the National Weather Service whenever there's a possibility of severe weather. If they know it's coming, they try to have a decision made by four in the afternoon. But sometimes, weather can throw them a curve ball.
"Once the games get underway, we do have site directors at every complex and I'm in constant communication with those people in the event that there is a severe weather warning," Smith said.
And sometimes the decisions aren't always a home run.
"As a weather man would probably let you know, you can't always be 100 percent perfect on your weather forecast and there are days that we have simply bagged the games because of what we thought was coming," Smith said.
Johnston says Smith is very good at making the call when it comes to games. But when it comes to practices, coaches have to make the decision. Parents can also call it quits at any time.
"If a parent says though, 'hey this has gone too far,' they can pull their kid. But I think a coach would make that decision long before a parent would have to step in and say 'we're taking our kid,'" Johnston said.